Gaming's 9 most important crates

7. The Unfair Advantage Crate, as seen in Counter-Strike (2000)

After painting the Crate as a nefarious monster-hider in Half-Life, Valve tried to further diminish the versatile storage unit’s reputation with their retail release of Counter-Strike at the turn of the 21st century. In the game’s bomb defusal mode, the Crate shockingly became a willing accomplice to terrorism. By crouching, one of the crafty counter-counter-terrorist ne’er-do-wells could allow an accomplice to jump on top of his head and set up the C4 on top of an honest Crate, which was too inanimate to do anything about it. Saddening.

Counter-Strike, at its peak, often had eleven billion concurrent players. Despite his team’s best efforts to shame the mighty Crate, Valve head honcho Gabe Newell frequently attributes the success of the team-based multiplayer shooter to its liberal, and often baffling, use of our beloved Crates in many of the game’s levels. They’re absolutely everywhere, often left unattended in places you really wouldn’t expect them to be. There’s also no sign of any palettes or forklift trucks, necessary items to facilitate the transport of these bulky items, so the Crates must just be sitting out in the open at all times. How did they even get there? One popular theory is that they’ve been left on this Earth, in a fashion similar to crop circle phenomena, by a curious alien race.

8. The Redundant Crate, as seen in Halo 2 (2004)

It had to happen. After riding so high for so long, it all came crashing down for the Crate with the release of Halo 2. Experts predicted it would happen after developer Bungie marginalised their role in Halo 1. They were right: Master Chief’s upgraded suit (fresh for Halo 2) meant he didn’t even need health packs anymore, and he got most of his ammo from the bodies of his fallen foes. Bungie, sadly, clearly forgot a Crate is supposed to be for life.

Sure, there were still the odd Crates here and there, including some whizzy alien ones that sparkled, but it was a very bad time to be a portable rectangular storage unit. Resorting to desperate measures, the Crates had to take any odd job they could, even going so far as to resupply useless grunts instead of mega-buff heroes. For the next few years, it would stay that way. Crates, people thought, were done for, playing a weak third-fiddle to both Chests and Barrels. These were to be dark times indeed.

9. The Gruff Commando Crate, as seen in Modern Warfare 2 (2009)

Thanks to the ginormous popularity of Halo, the second half of the decade proved to be a miserable few years for Crates. But where a simple Box might have packed it all in, the Crates stayed strong. Training, it seems, for this year’s Modern Warfare 2. Crates aren’t stupid. They know what the cool kids like, and that’s uber-popular multiplayer games. So it was decided: if the gamers weren’t going to come to the Crates, the Crates would go to the gamers.

Repackaging themselves as ‘Care Packages’, these airborne carriers of valuable cargo drop down from the skies to assist whomever is lucky enough to crack open their casing and feast on the delicious goodies inside. The mere sight of one of these hardened military Crates is enough to whip players into a mad frenzy, scrambling across the map for a chance to get their hands on potentially bigger and better instruments of destruction.

To qualify as a Care Package, a Crate has to pass rigorous sturdiness testing and score over 85% on a mental arithmetic paper. Gruelling stuff, but the results of all that hardcore training have definitely paid off. Is it these tough new Crates which enabled Modern Warfare 2 to enjoy the biggest gaming launch of all time? Probably, but I doubt we’ll ever truly know. One thing is clear: the Crate is clearly back on top form. And it’s about time.

December 8, 2009

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  • guiarherodrummer1998 - December 12, 2009 11:19 p.m.

    dude. that's pretty hilarious. I find it funny though, that Bowser would look for uneaten bananas in those MK64 Item boxes. By the second or third grand prix the bananas go bad, its not pleasant.
  • patri0t - December 12, 2009 3:47 a.m.

    the companion cube wish it were a companion crate right about now
  • gyromne - December 12, 2009 2 a.m.

    mercenaries had call-in crates. but good article btw
  • sofaku - December 11, 2009 12:08 a.m.

  • RedAppolyon - December 10, 2009 11:35 a.m.

    Hellooooooo!!!! Companion crate!!!!!
  • NanoElite666 - December 10, 2009 4:58 a.m.

    Glad to see I'm not the only one noticing the absence of the various crates of the Ratchet & Clank universe. How could you forget about them? After all the ammo, health, and sweet sweet bolts they've held for you over the years? Shame on you GamesRadar...
  • FunkeeMonk - December 10, 2009 3:08 a.m.

    What about ratchet and clank i mean really what the hell i love that game it got me into gaming
  • Defguru7777 - December 9, 2009 11:44 p.m.

    @John-117 I thought I'd have to be the one to bring up Ratchet and Clank's crates! Bravo on your crate expertise good sir!
  • BanHer - December 9, 2009 6:55 p.m.

    Dude. Where's Portal? I mean... come on, you can't have Crates without Portal.
  • bonerachieved - December 9, 2009 6:28 p.m.

    This article was so badass! haha awesome
  • DoctorCrazy - December 9, 2009 5:36 p.m.

    You know what I find funny? I recently picked up a copy of F.E.A.R. Files for $10 bucks, and thats the first game ive played in a lonnnnng time with ammo-health crates, and then low-and-behold a few days later GamesRadar has a crate article. Coincidence? I think not.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - December 9, 2009 4:07 p.m.

    Ah, crates.... :)
  • Maffiaso - December 9, 2009 4 p.m.

  • crumbdunky - December 9, 2009 3:27 p.m.

    No mention of Ratchet and Clank here? Seriously fellas that's really poor as no other series uses so many(bolt,ammo,bomb,camo(invicible),raritanium and those that switched between types too)crates, has done more with crates OR has so many in a given game. R&C is virtually synonymous with bloody crates! Had you done a feature on Xbox FPS games and ignored Halo it might, nearly, be a comparable mess up as this is the most glaring ommission I can remember in a long while from you lot! Some nice points in the article but when I got to the end without a mention of Incomniac's sterling efforts in fowarding the cause of crates in the medium I was truly amazed. I may not sleep now-oh, the injustice! Unless, of course, I'm just imagining the millions of crates I've battered for bolts/ammo/etc over the length of the series. Have I been hallucinating for the past seven years or so? OR is this an effort to play down Sony's long term publishing commitment to crates? Is GR involved in a MS scheme to take crates exclusively to Xbox platforms? Mmmh, IDK.
  • TommyG - December 9, 2009 1:46 p.m.

    There's the one near the start of the Ocarina of Time. You need to wake up lazy Talon with a Cucco, then push that crate to get into Hyrule Castle. Without that crate, Link never gets into the castle, never meets Zelda, and never saves the world. That's a pretty important crate.
  • michaelmcc827 - December 9, 2009 5:12 a.m.

  • smallberry - December 9, 2009 5:05 a.m.

    Yay for Douglas Adams reference. Nice article.
  • Cwf2008 - December 9, 2009 3:58 a.m.

    Lol i like the care package picture "Don't be ammo...Don't be ammo..." Lol even it hates being ammo. But wheres the Companion Cube (c'mon you know its technically a crate)
  • Coconut265 - December 9, 2009 3:16 a.m.

    What? Where is Companion Cube?!?! Companion Cube is clearly a crate, and one of particularly sensual and inviting design. Its perfectly angular beauty and the promise to never stab you makes it the greatest crate ever to exist in life. Companion Cube is, at the very least, the Jesus of crates.
  • TheCreamFilling - December 9, 2009 3:12 a.m.

    Error: the "crate" in the second Halo 2 picture is not a crate, it's an ODST drop pod. Also, I always liked the crates from the Command & Conquer series, it was a fun gamble: it could reveal the entire map, give you some cash, or it could be a nuclear explosion!

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